Excerpt from Her Sexy Beast (Chimera Chronicles 6)

I posted my WIP, the last book in the Chimera Chronicles series, lucky number 7, tentatively titled Out Like a Dragon, for Weekend Writing Warriors this week, and I realized I’d never posted an excerpt of my brand new release!

Her Sexy Beast (Chimera Chronicles 6) is my ninth book baby to be born into the world.

This excerpt takes place about a week after Sofia and Roan meet. He longs to make a connection with her, but is too afraid of being hurt to follow through. 

Book 6

***“Whoaaa!” The word slipped from Sofia’s lips without conscious thought as the ladder she was standing on tilted sideways. She grappled for the side of the cash office and her fingers caught the rough shingles. Her other hand was partially supporting the brightly painted wooden sign that perched on the roof of the cash office—normally. The ladder teetered on one leg.

In such moments, your life was supposed to flash through your mind, but all she experienced as fear stabbed through her chest, time slowed, and her fingers burned at maintaining her current, precarious situation, was regret for tackling the repair. 

The brilliant idea had been to show everyone she was approachable, and grounded enough to get her hands dirty, not kill herself.

Should she risk a jump to the weedy gravel? That might be the wise move under other circumstances, but the unwieldy sign, heavy with water damage and age, was hanging on by a thread and might tear free and strike her.

All her weight was on one leg to keep the remaining ladder support from losing contact with the ground and her thigh muscle ached, trembling with the strain. Finally, the fatigued muscle gave way. 

The ladder rocked and her fingers slipped. She was falling in slow-motion. She scrabbling at the ladder with the now empty hand, searching the rapidly approaching ground for the best place to land. This was going to hurt.

Suddenly, the ladder righted. Two strong arms bracketed her from behind against the shingles. A muscled chest pressed against her back. The bronze tattoos covering the arms on either side of her identified her savior. Roan.

Despite the bruising on her pride left over of their last meeting, relief prickled through her, but the feeling evaporated as he steadied her. 

His body heat and strength surrounded her. A shiver zinged down the back of her neck and arms. Her heart do-si-doed from drumming in fear to a frantic, hormone-fueled jive.

She need to speak, to thank him for his rescue, but all the moisture in her mouth had evaporated. 

He reached around her and hoisted the dangling sign. His hard, muscled  chest brushed against her back. His thighs cradled her butt, the creases of his shorts searing through the fabric of her jeans to stimulate the sensitive nerve-endings beneath. A coil of desire tightened in her stomach. Pressed together as they were, breathing forced her closer to him, but she couldn’t seem to slow the rapid-fire workings of her lungs. She should inch away, but with his hands up to fix the sign, the slightest movement could send them toppling.

He took the hammer and nails from their abandoned location on the roof and lifted the sign back into position, securing it with several strikes of the hammer. His scent wrapped around her as he worked, clean and masculine. 

She bit her lips to hold in a moan as he finished and slowly descended. Their positions on the ladder forced his sinewy frame to rub against her sensitized flesh. For all the armor they gave her, her flimsy, cotton T-shirt and jeans might as well have been non-existent.   On the ground he held the ladder steady so she could come down. 

Unsteady, she dismounted cautiously. She needed to make sure he understood how grateful she was. With Tia so frail, she couldn’t afford to get injured. 

Safely on the ground, she paused, still clinging to the rails of the ladder. The rapid meter of her pulse banged in her ears. She inhaled slow and long. Time to face him. She was an adult woman. How hard could it be? Pep talk over, she wheeled to thank him, and faced empty air. 

He was gone.***



Stolen off the street as a teen, tortured for months, altered into a monster, and dumped with only vague memories of his past, Ronan found refuge in the sideshow of a traveling carnival. It’s a lonely life, but it’s all he’s known for years—until he finds himself transforming further day by day, his temper becoming more and more volatile, his body changing into what he can only label as a beast.


Sofia Flores always knew what she would do when she grew up, help run the family-owned carnival. She’s been studying for years, first as a scholarship student at boarding school, then college, and finally getting her MBA. Now, at last, it’s time to take up the reins. But she never bargained with her own fascination for her Tia’s star attraction, Ronan. Not only does he appear not to return her interest, he seems to actively dislike her.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Ronan is immediately captivated by the carnival’s curvy new business manager, but he knows the score—beautiful women like Sofia aren’t meant for men like him. 

Unfortunately, Ronan has more to worry about than unrequited feelings. Since meeting Sofia, his body reshapes more each day. He’s losing himself to the beast. And the shadowy remnants of the people who did this to him are hot on his trail. 

The path to a Fairytale ending is never smooth…

Read in KU or Buy now for $3.99


IN LIKE A LION is .99 cents until Friday!

Screenshot (5)

IN LIKE A LION http://www.amazon.com/Like-Lion-Chimera-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00AQJ756C/ is .99 cents this week and I have been lucky enough to have my fabulous Publisher (Www.SoulMatePublishing.com) submit it for a bookbub promotion and have it accepted!

It’s been a wonderful experience!

I hope if you buy ILAL (or one of my other books) in the next few days (or if you already have) you’ll drop me a line to tell me what you think or post a review and let me know (check out my reviewer incentives on my amazon author page). The incentives are dependent on reviewing, not any number star review. Honest reviews are worth their weight in gold, good or bad!

I’m elated and grateful that ILAL was accepted for a bookbub promotion! It’s fun to see things like this screen shot from amazon.

I’m also excited about the beginning of the RWA National Conference this Wednesday, 7/22. The “Readers for Life” Literacy autographing (proceeds go to promoting Literacy) is Wednesday afternoon-evening. Hundreds of Romance authors will be signing at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square, including me!

Stop by while you’re at the signing and let me bend your ear with the traveling mishaps of a ditzy author. (Hint: I’m the ditzy author)

For full deets on the Literacy autographing: https://www.rwa.org/literacy

I’m also going to try and visit Kyle’s building while I’m in NYC. I took the inspiration picture from the web, so cross your fingers that I can find it!

Hope to see you in NYC!

Kyle's building in NYC
Kyle’s building in NYC

Oh, the glamour

My newest book baby is born today!

I suppose you’re wondering what exciting, glamorous events I have planned for release day? A party at a fancy restaurant with my friends and family, followed by a book signing? Lounging around savoring the accomplishment of having my fifth book published? Spending my day kneeling in prayer that when reviews are posted they’re good?

Not so much.

Actually, I was kneeling a moment ago, but only because I was getting clothes out of the dryer.

I have a full day planned of helping my son with his homework, taking him to school (I already carted my daughter off to middle school), applying for reviews from review sites, and maybe working on my next Chimera book, which is about four scenes from “the end.” Afterward, there will be much dragging of children to Tae Kwon Do and picking up children at Drama club, making dinner, and more! I know, not everyone can stand a life of such glamor (although, I’m sure many of you swan through your days in exactly this opulent manner), but I assure you I am up to the task.

The important thing is that Deyna and Ahran and their comrades will be born in someone’s imagination today. They will, (I hope) inspire smiles, and nail-biting and maybe, if I’m lucky, some happy tears.

My new YA Romantic Fantasy amazon link http://tinyurl.com/qftoasz
My new YA Romantic Fantasy amazon link http://tinyurl.com/qftoasz

That’s all I really hope for, that my characters will live for my readers, that you might be moved emotionally, and if you are, I hope you’ll let me know with a review or by mentioning HALFLING to a friend as a great read.

Happy Birthday to the characters of HALFLING and happy reading to you!


HALFLING is available for pre-order! I also have PDF ARCs for readers willing to review!

I’m so excited to venture into new territory! I’m still working on my adult book, number 3 in the Chimera Chronicles series. Twins Connor and Tyler, Army Recon Rangers get swept into a bank robbery through no fault of their own, and worse timing, Con meets his mate Embry, an FBI agent, whoops!

HALFLING is my first foray into YA. As a School Librarian for several years, I always wanted to write YA, but was daunted by the market, so I started with the more entry-friendly Romance market.

My new YA Romantic Fantasy amazon link http://tinyurl.com/qftoasz
My new YA Romantic Fantasy amazon link http://tinyurl.com/qftoasz The crippled reject of a scorned people, seventeen-year-old Valayan wanderer Deyna has never eaten, owned, or used anything she didn’t scrounge or steal. She’s used to life at rock bottom, but when her father sells her to be the annual Sacrifice to their enemies, the winged darklings, she discovers a new low. Marked for death at the hands of the darkling king, only the discovery that she’s half darkling saves her life. As a servant in the darkling palace, Deyna thinks she’s landed on her feet. She has fresh, clean food, a real bed, and people, like young Lord Ahran, the handsome captain of the king’s guard, who might actually care if she lives or dies. But all is not well in the darkling lands. The mysterious Jackal-Wolf is stealing grain shipments and raiding armories. A civil war is brewing, the gods have plans for her, and Ahran may not be exactly what he seems. Will the girl who’s spent her whole life running take a stand—even at the cost of her own life?


Are you a self-saboteur?

Say it again, John!
Say it again, John!

Are you a self-saboteur?

Those of you who know me, know I enjoy a variety (far too many) of TV shows. One of them is American Idol.

Yesterday, I was watching an episode from a couple days ago. It was group night in Hollywood week, and as usual there were various train wrecks being enacted; people staying up all hours of the day and night (and still not knowing the lyrics), passing out from anxiety attacks, fights, etc. One of these incidents, included a woman who displayed a phenomenon I am all too familiar with–self-sabotage.

Ostensibly, the contestant was not happy with her group and when they went to bed, spent most of the night looking for a new one, and most of her time the next day either fighting with them over it, or trying to find a new group. When it was time to go on, her performance was not up to par because she was clearly still hanging on to her emotional issues.

Naturally, she was the only one in the group to get cut.

I was struck immediately by the fact that she had sabotaged her own performance.

Why did she do that to herself?

Well, we self-saboteurs (yes, I struggle with this) don’t know we’re doing it at the time.

Procrastinators are some of the biggest self-saboteurs. To the rest of the population, procrastination is easily solved. It’s merely laziness. Just give yourself enough time to do what needs to be done. Even procrastinators can identify this solution. We always think, next time I won’t wait until the last minute, but the next time never seems to come.

This is the most vital clue that there is more than simply sloth involved. If a person continues a negative behavior even after identifying it, there’s mostly likely something more deep-seated at work.

Why do we self-sabotage?


Deep down we’re afraid we’re just not good enough, at our job, our vocation, being a parent. Sometimes, we can even do it in relationships, because we’re not good enough to be loved, either.

We hide from the fear by giving ourselves a monologue. I didn’t fail because I’m inadequate, but because I was in the wrong group, chose the wrong song, waited too long to apply, and so on.

Are you a self-saboteur?

Here are some signs.

Do you have an excuse? Do you repeat it in your head?

Instead: When you’ve finished something, you should be able to say, “I did everything I could.” Not, “if only I had or hadn’t…”

2. Do you find yourself worrying you might do something wrong in advance? “I better not forget to take breath there or I won’t have enough air to hold the note.”

Instead: Focus on the positive. Be your own coach. “I’ll take a breath there and finish strong.”

3. Do you compare yourself to someone else?

Remember: No one else is you. Focus on doing your best. It’s all you have control of.

4. Do you ignore or downplay your past achievements. “Yes, I have four and five star reviews, but I don’t have enough.”

Instead: Celebrate you achievements. Success kills fear, but only if you embrace it.
Are you a self-saboteur like me? Do you watch Idol? Do you have some examples or tips for the rest of us struggling with this problem? I’d love to hear from you!

What’s a Halfling?

Ahran, sans wings.
Ahran, sans wings.

Editing on my upcoming release, Halfling, is mostly done, I’m just waiting for my editor’s final thoughts. Now is when my brain turns to the trailer.

Problem. Since I usually write contemporary Paranormal Romance, a pretty close representation of my characters can easily be plucked from from the depths of a stock photo website.

But Halfling is a Young Adult Romantic Fantasy. It takes place in a setting with magic and swords (OK, it’s a sword and sorcery world, but I was trying not to say that).

Moreover, my hero has wings, and not feathery angel wings or exactly bat wings, either. (Though they come closer to bat) The tips of his wings are visible at all times behind his head. He also wears chain mail armor and wields a sword.

My heroine is seventeen, super thin due to near starvation, and has dark red hair that’s been hacked off.

These images are not easy to find and really I could only approximate or use a paint program to alter them.

Often, I have to compromise and get the best I can afford. (I usually have good luck with istockphoto, but their prices have gone up and a struggling writer, just can’t afford them anymore.)

Here’s what I’ve got so far. I’m not hugely happy with Ahran, he looks a bit older than I’d like, but the hood has a chain mail look, and Ahran is not exactly who he seems to be, so I think it works. The challenge will be adding those wings.

I am more satisfied with Deyna. I think this model more accurately shows her outward vulnerability and inner strength. Deyna’s journey is the main focus of the book, so I was really lucky to find this photo.

Deyna, after some manipulation in paint. Also sans wings, as yet.
Deyna, after some manipulation in paint. Also sans wings, as yet.

The blurb:
What would you forfeit to save your friends?

The crippled reject of a scorned people, seventeen year-old Valayan wanderer, Deyna has never eaten, owned, or used anything she didn’t scrounge or steal. She’s used to life at the bottom, but when her father sells her to be the annual Sacrifice to their enemies, the winged darklings, she discovers a new low.
Marked for death at the hands of the darkling king, only the discovery that she is half darkling saves her life.
As a servant in the darkling palace, Deyna thinks she’s landed on her feet. She has fresh, clean food, a real bed, and people, like young Lord Ahran, handsome captain of the king’s guard, who might actually care if she lives or dies, but all is not well in the darkling lands, a civil war is brewing and the gods have plans for her. Will she risk it all to do what’s right?

Final trailer coming soon!

Is this TMI? Shiny Things 1/13/2015

My daughter born the last time the bucks won the championship.
My daughter born the last time the bucks won the championship.

Shiny Things 1/13/2015

Things distracting me this week–

Congratulations, Ohio State Buckeyes on winning a true National Championship!

I’m not really a football fan, but the Buckeyes are special to me for more than just geographical reasons (I live in a suburb of Columbus).

The last time the Buckeyes won a National Championship was the 2002 season. I remember it very well, because I was in the hospital having my first child.

(Warning labor story) she wasn’t due until February 6th, so it was quite a surprise when my water broke on January 3rd! I’d just been to the doctor the day before and been told everything seemed fine for her original delivery date, for goodness sake! But at seven am it happened. Because it happened so early, I acted like a total moron. (Me: It can’t be my water! It’s too early! DH: Call the doctor. Me(the moron): but no one will be there yet!) I finally got my brain together, called and was told to come to the hospital, back then it was called the Ohio State Medical Center, or OSUMC.

Skipping ahead, I am not a hero and was soon drugged up and attached to so many devices I told my sister over the phone that I felt like a Borg. Twelve hours later, around ten, the serious work began, but no luck. Meanwhile, OSU was busy playing in the Tostidos Fiesta Bowl.

I swear to this day, my doctors dragged their feet getting the OR ready so they could finish watching the game. My proof? At one in the morning my daughter was delivered and as the OB handed her over he said (and we have this on DVD), “and by the way, OSU won.”

So when you say, O-H and my kids return I-O, they come by it honestly.

Anybody else have kids born on “special occasions?”

Other things–

(Warning excessive whining) I’ve been fighting a cold/sinus attack from Hell/migraine since Saturday, so my edits for my New YA Fantasy Romance are going very slowly. Part of me says, “come on, push through you wimp!” But the other professional writer part says, “you’ll start to skim and miss things.”

Have you seen that commercial where the guy opens the door and says, “I’m really sorry, I’m going to have to call in sick tomorrow and he’s talking to a baby in a crib?” I feel the same way about edits, unfortunately, NyQuil (or any number of drugs) hasn’t made any difference.

My tree is still up. Yes, it’s artificial. You don’t have to picture a pathetic stick, dropping needles all over my hardwood floor. We always keep our tree up until after my daughter’s birthday, but I’m pleading edits. I have a history, though of getting it down late. One year, it was still up when my Mom came to visit in February (she’s never let me forget it!) Still, as I get older I’m trying to do better.

What’s the latest you’ve had yours up?

Wish me luck!